Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $550,000)
Tropical Texas Behavioral Health (TTBH) is proposing to develop the Mental Health-Law Enforcement Co-Responder Harlingen PD Team (CRT-HPD) in collaboration with the Harlingen Police Department. TTBH’s target population are individuals identified with Mental Illness (MHDs) including major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse disorders (MH-SUDs). TTBH proposes to serve 170 individuals during the second the third years. Our service area will be in the city of Harlingen, Texas located in Cameron County. The priority area for this program is in a designated High-Poverty Areas or Persistent-Poverty Counties. A review of the U.S. Census Bureau, Population by Poverty Status by Counties indicates that Cameron County’s is an area of persistent poverty with poverty rate of 24.4%, an average poverty rate two times higher than Texas at 13.4% and the U.S. at 11.4% rates. The area is predominantly Hispanic population at 90%.
The program goal is to reduce and divert individuals with serious mental illness away from jail and provide linkages to mental health treatment and support services. This program will benefit individuals in crisis who come in contact with law enforcement for misdemeanor offenses determined to be related to the symptoms of their mental illness, who may be appropriate for diversion from the criminal justice system into routine behavioral health care services. The CRT-HPD team will be a community-based, ride along-respond service model targeting the delivery of immediate screening, assessment, and brief intensive intervention services to adults and adolescents with MHD and MH-SUD. Collaboratively, the team will identify the best approach to assist the individuals with the least restrictive methods. The CRT-HPD team will engage in evidence-based techniques to promote effective strategies by law enforcement to identify and reduce the risk of harm to individuals with MHDs or MH-SUDs and to the public’s safety. The CRT-HPD team intends to continue outreach efforts with community partners and provide Mental Health training to local Law Enforcement Agencies. If awarded, this would be the first collaborative Co-Responder team developed with the Harlingen PD in Cameron County for TTBH.
The Harlingen PD is the proposed subcontractor for this program. The request for federal funding is $550,000 for the three-year period. TTBH has previously been awarded the JMHCP funds and is currently working on the first co-responder program to be initiated in Hidalgo County Texas with the Pharr Police Department.